Have you ever met someone who feels afraid of talking to you in person but he/she is very comfortable in conversing with you over mail or message? If yes, you might have noticed that he/she talks to you with utmost ease while conversing you virtually over message or mail but whenever you tell him/her that you wish to call him/her and talk in person with him/her, the person gets nervous or choked and feels shy. Maybe, he/she rejects your idea of calling and talking to him/her in person. Once, twice, thrice…again and again. This is me. Yes, the person is me. I feel nervous and become anxious whenever someone tells me that he/she wants to call me. I am privileged to have a small circle of sisterhood where we share our emotions and speak our hearts, without the fear of getting judged. The friendship is so beautiful that some of them want to call me and talk to me in person and tell me about their wish frequently. But I feel so anxious about it, that I keep rejecting the idea of talking over call always. Thanks to these kind souls, they so beautifully understand my problem that they never mind of it. The same happens with some other blogger friends too with whom I share beautiful bonds that have grown in the last few years of me in the blogging field. Believe me, I feel very sad whenever I say no to their calls. Even the same happens for me when I see the call is coming from an unknown number. Whenever a person or someone from my friend circle tells me that he/she wants to talk to me over a call, I feel choked, I become afraid of an unknown fear, I become anxious. If I see someone is calling me and the number or his/her number is displaying on the phone screen, I get freeze, literally. My heart starts racing and I feel afraid of picking up the call. When the rings end, I feel relieved.
Could you imagine a girl who was good at public speaking in her college, a leader of her friends’ group in school, a performing artiste of music and used to perform in stages and shows, loved to talk to herself about lots of things in life, now getting anxious whenever it comes to dialing a number or picking a call from a friend? She was always admired for being a confident and courageous person in her life. But now, she is trapped in an unknown fear of speaking and socializing.
Little did I know that the fear is real and I am suffering from Social Anxiety.
So today, I want to talk about Social Anxiety and how I am overcoming the fear and recovering from the social anxiety by taking one step at a time.
What is Social Anxiety:
Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by a fear of being watched or judged by others in social situations or whenever it comes to socialize. Social anxiety disorder is also known as social phobia.
These are situations where people feel they are being observed by others. Examples include:
- Public speaking
- Participating in group meetings
- Participating in asking or answering questions
- Eating in front of others
- Using public washrooms
- Writing in front of others
- Performing in public (e.g. singing or dancing on stage)
These are situations where people feel anxious in interacting with others and developing closer relationships. Examples include:
- Meeting new people
- Talking to co-workers or friends
- Inviting others to do things
- Going to social events (e.g. parties or dinners)
- Being assertive
- Expressing opinions
- Talking on the phone
- Ordering food at a restaurant
- Having a job interview
Signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder:
When having to perform in front of or be around others, people with social anxiety disorder tend to these things:
- Blushing or sweating or trembling in an unknown fear
- Feeling an increase in heart rate
- Feeling nauseous or sick to their stomach
- Showing a rigid body posture,
- Feeling shy in making eye contact
- Being very self-conscious in front of other people and feeling embarrassed or awkward
Treatments for Social Anxiety Disorder:
However, social anxiety disorder is treatable. Talking therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and medications can help people overcome their symptoms.
Here comes the winning story of mine. Today I am extremely proud of myself that taking smaller steps, I am on my way to overcoming this situation of anxiety. I am sharing my story of how I am recovering from my fear taking one step at a time.
I have started my Podcast channel for two reasons. One purpose is to hear my own voice and another one is to narrate the script with a desire to be heard. Whenever I speak in front of the microphone (of the anchor app), I feel bit by bit, I am gaining back my lost confidence. When I publish an episode and share it with my friends, I feel happy that they would hear my voice and my message will be delivered to them through the medium of voice.
When I hear my voice playing an episode of my podcast, I feel happy and this happiness helps me building the pillar of self-confidence.
For some months, I have started talking to my friends over voice message. When someone sends me a voice note, I try to reply to him/her with my own voice note. This way, I am overcoming the fear of interacting people being vocal.
I have started making small videos with my narration in the background. I have started making small videos of my music too. ‘Of Strings and Strokes’ is such a video making endeavor by my sister Saheli and me. Here we make slideshow videos with her arts and my singing in the background. Then we share them with our friends, posting on social media.
Last but not the least, I have started calling my close friends and talking to them in person. And surprisingly, I have seen myself talking to them relentlessly and effortlessly for minutes after minutes. I tell them every tiny detail of my blogging life and then we stumble upon talking about our hereabouts. Also, I am trying to join the zoom meets of my circle as much as possible and interacting with my fellow participants. This is helping me to open up myself a bit more to the world and boosting my self-confidence level high.
Thus, I am recovering from my social anxiety taking one step at a time.
Here I want to add a note on my own:
This is a series titled ‘We need to be heard’ where I am writing about my own fight with various mental health issues and how I felt, how I fought, how I won.
I want to tell you that whenever you come to know that a friend of yours is suffering from social anxiety disorder, please try to call him/her and ask him/her this one question:
“What’s going on?”
With this note of warmth and love, you will show your friend that you care for him/her. Maybe your tiny step towards friendship could make someone overcome the fear of socializing and help to build self-confidence. Maybe this way, knowingly or unknowingly, you will be a part of his/her recovery journey, taking one step together towards bringing someone back to the rhythm of life.
These all are my own tricks and tips to handle my anxiety problems. I really hope they work for you too. If you need expert consultation, please don’t delay in seeking help. Be vocal about your problems and seek help from an expert.
Wish you start living life without any mental health issues very soon. Sending you love and light.
More power to you, always.
(This post is a part of the Cause A Chatter blogging campaign by Blogchatter)